By Ray Charlston
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in a decision that has enraged fundamentalists and those on the radical and extreme right, has voted to recognize that Jesus Christ “may have been gay and transgendered.” This decision has provoked some extremists to accuse the Presbyterian Church of blasphemy and even apostasy. The Presbyterian Church reports receiving hundreds of angry letters of homophobic hate-mail since the decision, expressing hateful, bigoted, retrograde and ignorant views against the LGBT community. Previously, the church voted to ordain openly gay clergy and to allow ministers to officiate at gay weddings, rightly earning praise from progressives.
In another decision that is only controversial among hateful and intolerant bigots, the Presbyterians have decided to begin teaching children of all ages about homosexuality and the transgendered. Experts agree that it is important to reach children at the earliest ages in order to inculcate a spirit of tolerance for alternative lifestyles. Children need to understand that all sexual orientations and lifestyles, as well as all sexual acts, are equal and morally equivalent under all circumstances. No orientation or type of sexual act is better than any other – all are equal!
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and other groups, showing that homosexuals are more likely to contract AIDS or other STDs, can have no basis in fact. They are quite obviously the result of a shockingly pervasive institutional homophobia. There can be no other rational explanation. In another decision, praised by progressives, condoms will be distributed at every Sunday school class. The church has decided to give out new glow-in-the-dark condoms in an effort to get children and teens more interested in practicing safe sex.
Children will be taught reinterpreted Bible stories, which include positive LGBT role-models. Based on a literal reading of some biblical verses, like 2 Samuel 1:26, it is now widely accepted that King David, the ancient Israelite hero, was a proud homosexual. The verse reads “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” Another verse even includes a kiss between David and Jonathan! “And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.” (1 Samuel 20:41)
We even read that Jonathan stripped himself of his clothes before David! 1 Samuel 18:3-4 says “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.” Although most scholars agree that the Torah does prohibit homosexuality rather explicitly (Leviticus 20:13) the Old Testament teaches that, where love is concerned, even God must bow to human feelings and abrogate His law! This might sound like God has changed His mind, which might disturb some fundamentalists, but the Bible cites other examples of this. God regretted that He had made man at one point (Genesis 6:6-7), and He regretted flooding the earth and vowed never to do it again. (Genesis 9:10-11)
LGBT and Liberation Theology Pastor Douglas Calvert observed that “There is actually a great deal of evidence that Jesus Christ was not heterosexual. According to tradition he had very long hair. He was very effeminate and soft spoken. He never married. He had no children, and he never expressed a romantic interest in the opposite sex. He did hang out with twelve guys though, and travelled with them all the time. When they were alone with nothing else to do, did they experiment with each other? Did they sleep together, or engage in orgies? We may never know for certain, but the answer is most definitely that they probably did.”
Paul Oestreicher, an Anglican chaplain at the university of Sussex, agrees. His article “Was Jesus gay? Probably” can be read here. More and more mainline protestant denominations are becoming open to the idea that Jesus Christ, whom they regard as the Son of God, and the third person of the Trinity, may have been gay. Instead of finding this as a source of shame or disconcertion, Christians should be proud and loudly proclaim the fact that Jesus Christ was gay! They should march through the streets advertising it with banners and shouting it through megaphones, loudly proclaiming “We are proud God is gay!”
Although most other prominent religious figures were married, or were polygamous, Jesus Christ never married. Many male pagan deities had wives or several wives and concubines as well. Shiva, the Hindu deity, had at least eight wives and countless concubines according to tradition. Despite Jewish tradition upholding marriage, Christ never married, nor did he own any slave girls. Curiously, the chief founder of Christianity, who sought to propagate it after Christ’s death, the Apostle Paul, also never married. Perhaps Christianity was the first world religion accepting of homosexuality.
Moses, Muhammad, and even the Buddha married and had offspring. Is it possible instead that Christ was not homosexual but perhaps was impotent? Is it possible that he had no sexual drive? Was he a sexually repressed heterosexual, who merely avoided women? Perhaps he was socially awkward with women? While these things cannot be ruled out, they seem unlikely. Some critics point to verses seemingly extolling the virtues of a eunuch’s life. (Mathew 19:12) Those verses however only serve to further reinforce the fact that Christ despised and abhorred the very idea of heterosexual sex!
Feminist Professor Claudia Jackson noted that “Jesus Christ was an early feminist; he understood that any sexual activity between a man and a woman was always rape. It is rape even if a woman expressly asked a man to have sexual relations with her. Men have always enjoyed a position of superiority over women. Thus the relationships between the sexes have always been unequal. Therefore heterosexual sexual activity always represents an indecent assault upon women.”
The Gospel of John refers to the gay lover of Jesus Christ “and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved…” (John 20:2) Before his death by crucifixion the Bible tells us, in John 19:26-27 “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” Clearly Jesus was saying something like “Mom, I’ve married a man. We are gay lovers. So, he is your son-in-law. He should live with you now, and take care of you.” This could not be more clear.
Some fundamentalist opponents of homosexuality cite verses like Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” There are several possible answers to this, besides the one mentioned earlier. The New Testament clearly teaches that God’s law was nailed to the cross and abolished on the basis of Christ’s sacrificial death. Thus God’s laws in the Old Testament are no longer binding for Christians. (Colossians 2:14) If one is Jewish, one could perhaps argue God was once homophobic but is no longer. God has reformed Himself and become more tolerant. Another retort might be that this verse, incompatible as it is with God’s love, was never inspired by God to begin with and should be dismissed as not truly of divine origin.
The particular explanation that one adopts is not important as long as we understand that homophobia is an ugly crime that we must never accept. We cannot countenance it under any circumstances. We must never allow bigotry to cloak itself in the garments of religiosity or spirituality! A homophobic religion is not worthy of tolerance, but only of hatred and contempt! To persecute such a sick and dangerous cult would not be intolerant, but virtuous and vitally necessary! Intolerance warrants no tolerance and tolerating intolerance is arguably the greatest evil of our time.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is also used by homophobes and haters to attack the LGBT community. The verses read “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
Although abusers of themselves with mankind does explicitly refer to homosexual activity, and that is even more apparent in many other translations, these verses too could be rejected as incompatible with God’s love. Progressive Jews and Christians see the Bible as an evolving document. It must change and our interpretations of it must change with the times so that it remains relevant in every generation. To do otherwise would be to make ourselves prisoners beholden to an ancient literary work. Books are written by people, not by the hand of God onto stone! Good and evil or right and wrong are social constructs, evolving and changing over time.
Let us not forget, the Bible also calls shellfish unclean. Shall we all change our diets because of something that primitive nomadic, unwashed, lice-infested, neck bearded and barely literate peoples wrote several thousand years ago? Remember, these are people who owned slaves, sold their own daughters into slavery and murdered their family members and neighbours. Why? For worshipping the wrong supernatural sky buddies or picking up sticks on the wrong day. Hell, even saying that Asherah was Yahweh’s girlfriend was enough to warrant death for an Israelite! They were all, clearly, very far from perfect.
As Progressive Christians understand it, the Bible is the inspired word of God. However, it must evolve and be interpreted in light of present circumstances and conditions. It must not be rigid, unchanging, or seen as somehow inerrant. Likewise, Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela were inspired by God. The Bible must not be seen as an exclusive or even primary source of truth in life. To do so would be to worship a book, to fall into the sin of bibliolatry. God is love, and therefore love and its daughters, tolerance and pluralism, and not the Bible should ultimately guide us. The Bible is an important literary work, but it only has value to the extent that it affirms humanist virtues.
Although religious fundamentalist homophobes like to claim Jesus Christ was a right-wing Christian who hated gays, the truth is far from that. Jesus opposed public prayer, and prayer in school. Jesus wanted to keep prayer in the closet and out of the public sphere “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6 KJV.) Jesus said to keep prayer, and not homosexuality, in the closet, contrary to what so many bigoted and intolerant fundies proclaim!
We know that Jesus was a trained carpenter by Joseph the husband of Mary. It seems likely that along with building homes and furniture, Jesus offered decorating tips and ideas to clients. In his business, he would have had ample opportunity to discuss and explore interior decorating. No less an authority than Elton John noted that Jesus would have backed gay marriage and was gay himself.
In “The Secret Gospel of Mark” Jesus teaches a youth – who was wearing only a linen cloth over his naked body – the “Mystery of the Kingdom of God.” Obviously, Jesus was initiating him into his first homosexual activity! There can clearly be no other reasonable explanation. The Christian Church rejected this gospel as apocryphal, because of homophobia and intolerance!
Jesus Christ was a strong advocate of economic levelling and redistribution. He once told a rich man “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) He predicted a world where the poor would one day rule and hold all property in common, while the rich one percent would come last, as punishment for their crimes. “So the last shall be first, and the first last…” (Matthew 20:16)
Jesus even drove the capitalists out of the Temple and forbade them from selling their wares there. (John 2:14-16) Jesus was also a renowned peace activist. (Matthew 5:9) Jesus said we are to be judged based on how we treat the least of his brethren. “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40) A rich man asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
Clearly Jesus was a homosexual and a progressive who favoured economic levelling, banning public prayer, and who strongly denounced the rich. The guy was a radical Jewish liberal as the Bible shows, persecuted and hated by the conservatives of his time! Those conservative leaders ultimately instigated his murder, so great was their hatred of him! It is ironic that conservatives and right-wingers claim to follow his teachings. They do so by systematically ignoring or distorting most of them!
It’s time for progressives to take Jesus back. We should not allow the radical and extreme right to hold the memory of one of our own hostage! Let us reclaim Jesus, who no doubt, if he were alive today, would proudly march with us under a rainbow flag in an LGBT parade denouncing injustice, inequality and intolerance! At LGBT parades across the nation and around the world this year, the Christian LGBT community will march with banners proudly proclaiming “God is Gay!” in his memory!
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